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Iraq judges order release of journalist held for 2 years by US military

[JURIST] A four-member Iraqi judiciary committee has dismissed terrorism-related charges against Associated Press (AP) [media website] photographer Bilal Hussein [AP materials; JURIST news archive] and ordered his release. Hussein has been held by the US military since his arrest in April 2006 for allegedly possessing equipment to construct roadside bombs. The panel's ruling comes under a new amnesty law passed [JURIST report] by the Iraqi Council of Representatives [official website, in Arabic]. Hussein's release is not necessarily imminent, as US military authorities in Iraq say that a UN mandate allows them to hold any detainee deemed a security risk. AP has more.

In November 2007, the US Department of Defense pushed for terrorism charges against Hussein [JURIST report]. AP has repeatedly called for his release and has accused the military of denying Hussein his due process rights. In December 2006, the Committee to Protect Journalists released a report [text; JURIST report] noting that the US is currently detaining three journalists, including Hussein and Al Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Haj [CPJ report].

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